While containing similar properties, there are organic strains of marijuana and synthetically created or “fake” varieties. Here, we explain the difference.
Marijuana is a plant that grows naturally in the wild. It is also cultivated for its medicinal properties and for recreational use. The naturally occurring terpenophenolic compounds found in the marijuana plant are referred to as phytocannabinoids and are found mostly in the Cannabis Sativa plant. Naturally grown cannabis has been used for medicinal and recreational purposes for thousands of years.
In contrast, Synthetic cannabinoid products were produced and sold in herbal smoking blends as legal marijuana replacements and became popular in the early 2000s. The products were packaged and branded to suggest a similarity to the effects of marijuana but, because the materials are inert herbal mixtures doused with synthetic cannabinoids, their appearance, taste, and, smell are different. Synthetic creations actually contain no cannabis and should be avoided. Street names include “Spice” or “K2” and are strictly manmade. The CDC warns to avoid the use of these “fakes” as they can be life-threatening.
Figure 1 shown above displays the structures of the main cannabinoids found in organically grown marijuana. While there are well over 100 naturally occurring cannabinoids, these are the most commonly recognized.